On the Lower East Side, pickle controversies do not go away. This much was proved yesterday at International Pickle Day, where Guss’ Pickles may have been gone but it was certainly not forgotten. Patricia Fairhurst, having abandoned her Orchard Street store months earlier, was not about to come back from Brooklyn for the briny affair. But her nemesis, Stephen Leibowitz of United Pickles, was there, flaunting the famous Guss’ Pickles sign (see above)!
Under the terms of a legal settlement, Fairhurst was allowed to keep the Guss’ name as long as she stayed on the LES. Upon moving from the neighborhood she was forced to re-brand — calling the new Brooklyn store Ess-a-Pickle. Stephen and his son, Andrew, have said all along they’re the rightful owners of the Guss name. They have a Guss’ retail store in Cedarhurst.
When I saw Stephen at the festival yesterday I asked him about rumors that they planned to open another store on the LES, in partnership with Russ & Daughters. While he indicated there was no agreement with the famed Houston Street appetizing store, Stephen acknowledged plans to set up shop in the neighborhood, “within six months.” The big hurdle, he said, would be getting a judge’s permission to amend the agreement with Fairhurst.
Shortly after we posted this story early today, Stephen emailed the following clarification:
We are already in WHOLE FOODS Houston & Delancey with the GUSS’ line and have no intention opening in the Lower East Side, since we are in every Whole Foods across the country. WE were talking about Whole FOODS, not opening on the Lower East Side.
We pulled the story this morning to sort out the pickle particulars. But, wouldn’t you know, eagle-eye Rebecca Marx of the Village Voice had already picked it up. Not wanting to be a party to any pickle cover-up, we’re coming clean!
So will we be seeing that iconic Guss’ signage popping up above some vacant storefront? You can judge Mr. Leibowitz’s comments for yourself. And we’ll be awaiting the next chapter in the Great LES Pickle War.